‘Can You Do Me a Favor’ Scams Target Boise Businesses
If you got an e-mail from your boss asking for help with a errand, you probably wouldn't think twice about doing the task they asked requested of you. But what if the person on the other end of that e-mail wasn't actually your boss? It could cost you thousands!
A friend of mine works for an architecture firm in Downtown Boise that was the most recent target of what's being a called the "Can You Do Me a Favor" scam. It usually starts with an e-mail like the one multiple employees in this office received. It addressed the employee by name and then read:
Hope you don't have much on your plate right now. Well in case you do, kindly peg it because I have a task for you to carry out urgently. Drop your cell number so I can five you a run down on it. Thanks.
It was then contained a signature line that looked like one belonging to one of the firm's principal architects.
My friend was highly suspicious of it and went directly to his boss thinking it was strange that he asked for his cell number when the two of them communicate via cell all the time. However, one of his co-workers took the bait and ended up receiving a text message from a number they didn't recognize telling them the task was to buy $1500 of Amazon gift cards. After their purchase, this employee was to send photos of the redemption codes on the back of the cards so that their "boss" could pass them along to a client.
After doing so, this employee got a bad feeling in his stomach and realized he'd been scammed. Luckily, Amazon's customer service was able to quickly help him cancel the gift cards and get his money back before the scammer was able to use them. He did however, get a message back from the number saying the cards had already been redeemed and wanted to know what the deal was. The employee didn't reply.
A quick Google search of the phone number they received the text from showed it as a Provo, UT number that received the following complaint in June 2019.
Received a text and even tho i said it was a wrong number continued tip harass me including threats to come to my house and mess with my life.
It's not the first time a scammer has created an e-mail address similar to a legitimate employer's account to try to scam unsuspecting employees out of their hard earned money. The Boise Police Department received reports of scams like this back in January 2019. KTVB reported on a similar incident in October.
Don't let these scammers take advantage of your natural desire to want to excel at your job and do what's asked of you. Be suspicious and always ask your boss directly if you receive an e-mail that looks like it could be a "Can You Do Me A Favor" scam.